Two Weeks On Skye

It’s been three years since we’ve been to the Misty Isle and we’re coming back!

Lisabet and I will be spending two whole weeks on the Isle of Skye, hopefully with vibrant autumn colours, cooler temperatures, and gorgeous light.

The first time we went to the Isle of Skye was back in 2014, the second leg of a two-week Scottish jaunt in the Highlands. We spent the first week hiking wide-eyed around the splendours of Glencoe, before venturing further north for our first look at the Isle of Skye.

“Britain’s Patagonia” by Ian Cylkowski. A view towards the Black Cuillins from the  Allt Dearg Mór . Photographed in 2014.

“Britain’s Patagonia” by Ian Cylkowski. A view towards the Black Cuillins from the Allt Dearg Mór. Photographed in 2014.

“Lighthouse At The End Of The World” by Ian Cylkowski. Neist Point Lighthouse shot from the cliffs of Waterstein. 2014.

“Lighthouse At The End Of The World” by Ian Cylkowski. Neist Point Lighthouse shot from the cliffs of Waterstein. 2014.

“Old Man Greets The Sun” by Ian Cylkowski. The Old Man of Storr, not long after sunrise. 2014.

“Old Man Greets The Sun” by Ian Cylkowski. The Old Man of Storr, not long after sunrise. 2014.

My first visit to Skye was a dream come true; I instantly and violently fell in love with the island. Looking back at my old blog entries about this visit, words like “surreal”, “otherworldly”, and “legendary” enjoy plentiful repetition.

I vowed that we would return.

And return we did, in 2016, again as part of a two-week Scottish Highlands exploration. We used the first week to revisit Skye, and expand a little further, then during the second week we ventured further north to the Torridon and Applecross area.

“The Sliding Earth” by Ian Cylkowski. A view amongst the  Quiraing  of Skye. Photographed in 2016.

“The Sliding Earth” by Ian Cylkowski. A view amongst the Quiraing of Skye. Photographed in 2016.

“Talisker Curve” by Ian Cylkowski. The cliffs of  Rubha Cruinn  and its waterfall from Talisker Bay. Shot in 2016.

“Talisker Curve” by Ian Cylkowski. The cliffs of Rubha Cruinn and its waterfall from Talisker Bay. Shot in 2016.

“Warm Light, Blue Mountain” by ian Cylkowski. A long exposure of  Blàbheinn  from the shores of Loch Slapin. Shot in 2016.

“Warm Light, Blue Mountain” by ian Cylkowski. A long exposure of Blàbheinn from the shores of Loch Slapin. Shot in 2016.

This year, 2019, we will be spending a full two weeks on the Isle of Skye, really getting to know the place. There might even be opportunities for ferrying across to other islands I’ve had my eye on (Eigg, I’m looking at you).

I just. Can’t. Wait. To show you what I will experience.

Here’s to wonderful light!

The Inescapable Pull of Scotland, Now To The Mull of Galloway

That’s right. We’re off to Scotland again.

I can’t stay away from the place. It boasts an incredible variety of landscapes, fascinating geology, centuries of history, and of course the friendliest people on earth (ahem—also whisky—ahem).

Around the beginning of November 2017, Lisabet and I enjoyed a long weekend around a particular favourite of mine: Glencoe. And back in October, we spent two weeks in the country checking out the coastal delights of the Scottish Borders, followed by our first time around the incredible Isle of Arran.

This time we’re heading back to the Scottish coast again, but an area we’ve never been to before: the Mull of Galloway. This is the southernmost tip of Scotland and is “one of the last remaining sections of natural coastal habitat” in Galloway.

Forecasts indicate that we may experience blustery and overcast conditions during our stay, but hopefully largely dry, which will be nice given how Cumbria’s been this month.

Here’s to good light!

Off to visit an old friend

There’s nothing like a mini-break, right?

Tomorrow, Lisabet and I head 240-ish miles north, a 4.5-hour car ride to Glencoe.

Aahhh, Glencoe… the land of the Three Sisters, the Buckle, the Hidden Valley, and so much more. It’s been three years since we last visited and I am beyond excited.

Forecasts and webcams indicate that the peaks in the area should have a good coating of snow on ’em, too. My portfolio is seriously lacking in quality winter images.

Here’s a few shots below of my previous Glencoe work, back in the “prime” of my HDR days.

fire in the glen site.jpg
luminous illumination site.jpg
testament to the ice age.jpg

Oofah! Amazing how your eye and taste changes over time, isn’t it? This was once some of my proudest work. These days, well… let’s just say, I can do a lot better now.

Here’s to glorious light. In the meantime, feel free to check out my newest body of work: Isle of Arran, Autumn 2017.

East and West

In a couple of days time, Lisabet and I are heading off to Scotland for a fortnight. Hooray! [insert celebratory emojis here]

Every year we try to visit a different part of Scotland we’ve never explored… with possibly the exception of Skye, where we’ve been a few times now (I mean, who wouldn’t want to?) Our last stay in Scotland saw us spend the first week on Skye, our second visit to the island, and then we stayed in Lochcarron to explore Torridon and Applecross for our final week.

If you’re interested, you can check my older work of Skye and Torridon here.

Another consistent decision of ours is to stay in Scotland during late September/early October. There’s a couple of reasons for this.

TorridonApplecross-02.jpg

1. Midges

As beautiful as the Scottish people and landscapes are, the main thing that puts us and thousands of others off from visiting Scotland during the Summer is the midges (known in other parts of the world as “no-see-ums”, “punkies”, “sandflies”, and “muffleheads”).

Midges are tiny, flying insects that swarm in clouds of thousands from late Spring to late Summer. They love the soft light of dawn and dusk, humid days, boggy/marshy/wet places, and a lack of wind. Oh, they can also detect the Carbon Dioxide we exhale, and when one of them bites into you they emit pheromones that alert other midges that there’s a bloody good meal to be had, resulting in more bites.

They are bastards.

And in the Highlands of Scotland they are a known problem and nuisance. In fact, the Highland Midge even has its own Wikipedia page, they are that notorious! It’s been estimated they cost the Highland economy £286m per year in deterring tourists from visiting the area.

By the time Autumn arrives, midge numbers are greatly reduced, which means a much happier Lisabet and I!

Speaking of Autumn…

2. Autumn Colours

Autumn in Scotland is glorious; in my experience, it hits its peak from early- to mid-October. We’ll be staying as the colours are changing, which I’m very much looking forward to! Not only that, but sunrise and sunset times are more… sociable, and as the sun is lower in the sky the quality of light is softer, which I very much prefer.

So where are we visiting this year?

Week 1: Cove Harbour, Scottish Borders

We’ve briefly touched on the incredible coast of the Scottish Borders before, notably the St. Abbs Head Nature Reserve. About 10-odd miles north of St. Abbs Head lies a tiny coastal village called Cove.

Once a bustling fishing harbour, the village is now privately owned by Edinburgh architect Ben Tindall. Two main trails pass near the village: the Southern Upland Way and the John Muir Way, so there’ll be plenty of hiking and exploring to do!

I’m looking forward to spending a week right by the coast in a quiet and remote fishing village. Seascapes and fascinating coastal geology here we come!

Week 2: The Isle of Arran

Arran has been on my bucket list for many years now, so I am obviously ecstatic to finally be able to explore this magical island. For a landscape photographer like me, it has it all: pointy peaks, craggy cliffs, castles, unusual coastal geology, caves, lochs, mountains, waterfalls, and so much more.

A particular highlight I’m excited about is Glen Rosa and its view towards A' Chìr Mhòr, a modest but shapely pyramidal peak of (799m/2,621ft).

I’ll be taking the MacBook with me so hopefully there’ll be opportunities to post new work and blog updates whilst I’m in the country. But right now, all I have is giddy, childlike enthusiasm and anticipation.